All writers have a need to capture and hold on to their reader's attention. This means engaging the reader by focusing their thinking on what will captivate and entertain their imagination but which is also what the writer wants them to think about as they read.

Figurative language is an effective way of achieving this. Figurative language means words that are not literal, words that are metaphors and similes (also personification often uses metaphors). Figurative language of this kind tries to create in the mind of the reader a mental image ('imagery') or a feeling, often one that is arresting and vivid. If it works, this acts to engage the reader's mind in an entertaining way, helping a reader to feel as if he or she is "there" within the scene being described.

In a metaphor a person or thing is described as if it were something entirely different from itself - as in, 'The heavens opened up and we got soaked to the skin'; in a simile the thing being described is compared using words such as 'like' or 'as' - as in, 'The rain came down like Niagara Falls!'

Personification is use of metaphor when a thing is described as if it had some human qualities, as in, 'the troipcal breeze breathed warmly on them as they walked.' Personification allows an emotional response to the thing being described because a human (or living) attribute is used in the description.

Using a series of metaphors taken from a similar area of meaning, can be very effective in writing and quite a skill to achieve effectively. You will have read, probably, of a football match being described using a series of metaphors chosen from the field of war or battle, for example - 'attack', 'defending', 'enemy', 'shot'. This is a use of extended metaphor.